Author's note: I wrote this story back in 2012. However, I am revising it again in order to write the sequel Rougher Tides. Some of the dialogue will be changed although I'm doing my best to keep it to the original story line. If you are interested in this story, you can read the full version by clicking on the following link and purchasing it. However, the story will be updated once this revision is complete.
Elena left and Jackie pondered the upcoming election. She had no idea what to do. Sighing, she began looking for Gerard.
Jackie found him sweeping the studio room. Odd. 'Shouldn't that be the maid's job?'
“Hey,” Jackie said.
Gerard finished sweeping around one of the easels in the room. Her mother was an artist, though she couldn't remember the last time she saw her painting in here. Gerard smiled briefly. Jackie couldn't tell if the red that flushed through his face was embarrassment or something else.
“Rare for you to be in here,” Gerard commented and proceeded to explain. “Ms. Burrows was feeling ill today, so I opted to do her work for her.”
“Are you two seeing each other?” Jackie asked.
“I will neither confirm that nor deny it,” Gerard replied as he swept another dust pile into his dustpan.
“Fair enough,” Jackie replied, thinking they were definitely seeing each other. “Elena told me to talk to you about the court case. I want to avoid talking to my parents at all costs about it.”
“Ah,” Gerard sighed. “I'm aware. Mr. Miller and Mr. O ' Leary used to be very close.”
“Their grudge?” Jackie pressed.
“Not something to be discussed in your mother's studio,” Gerard said.
“Where then?” Jackie asked, not allowing Gerard to back out.
“Den quarters,” Gerard answered. “We'll need to be seated for this.”
Jackie accepted this and walked out of the studio. She walked passed the foyer and into the den room. The den room had more polished wooden floors and huge red couch and a red love seat. There was a television on an entertainment stand and on the other side was a fire place. Jackie seated herself in the red love seat and waited for Gerard. He sat on the couch.
“William Miller and Brandan O ' Leary had been friends for a long time,” Gerard began. “They grew up together just like you and your friend Elena Williams. William was the older one by a year.
“Once they attended separate universities, their friendship began to dwindle. William had gone to school for arts, while Brendan went for criminal justice. One day, at a party, they had met your mother, Jocelyn Porter. Both had their eyes on here.
“Jocelyn was a painter and was in neither of their schools. She had tried hard to get into the school your father was accepted into, but she was denied. You must know how these things work of course. Rich students get more in higher schools even if the coursework is the same everywhere else.
“When Jocelyn met your father, people say it was love at first sight. Your father loved her art and even commissioned her to do some paintings of himself. William was quite deviant and way ahead of his time in gender roles. Anyway, Jocelyn had fallen for William as well. He even had written poems about and for her, something with her jet black hair and blue eyes.
“Throughout their blooming love, Brendan became more jealous. He also developed a crush on Jocelyn and would stop at nothing to have her for himself. A shame really. Love or infatuation can make someone so foolish.”
Jackie stared at Gerard. This was starting to sound like awfully familiar territory. Not to mention it was getting weird.
“Shall I continue?” Gerard asked.
“The judge wants to get back at my father due to a delusion that my mother actually liked him?” Jackie asked in disbelief.
Gerard nodded. Jackie gripped the sides of the love seat tightly.
“The final straw for the judge was when you were born,” Gerard explained calmly. “He always thought you should be his child and not Williams.”
“That's insane,” Jackie admitted. “How does this help my current situation?”
“Dye your hair black,” Gerard said. “Look as much like your mother as possible, even though you have your father's lithe build.”
“What does dying my hair have to do with anything?” Jackie asked, flabbergasted.
“Exposing him is the other way,” Gerard said.
“How?” Jackie asked.
“You would have to ask someone else for help. I know nothing further.”
“What's with the runaround?”
“Expose him for fraud. Ms. Honey Elizabeth has helped.”
Jackie looked at him questioningly. He held up a disc. Jackie blinked.
“What's this?” she asked.
“The court proceeding of today,” Gerard said and stood up. He handed the disc to Jackie.
“Isn't that illegal?” Jackie asked.
“Consider it a gray area,” Gerard said and winked. “Elena gave me the disc.”
“More circles,” Jackie sighed.
“I hope it's for the best,” Gerard said. “Anyway, I have more chores to do.”
Jackie was sitting down in the computer room, eyeing the contents on the disc intently. She played it over and over and still couldn't find anything of value. The fact she even had this recording could get her into serious trouble.
Honey and her had spoken the truth on the stand. Mark Jr. lied but how was she going to prove that? Then it hit her. She now knew what she had to do. Gerard's suggestion was right. Jackie was going to make sure the judge lost his election.
Driving to the nearest salon, she parked her car and walked in. The place was busy but she hoped she could get in. Jackie hadn't been to a salon in years, having high disdain for places such as these, but she needed to put her newly formed plan into action.
The oriental attendant took out a notepad and asked her to sign her name. Jackie had no time for this and flashed a wad of hundreds.
“Owner?” Jackie asked and handed the hundreds to the attendant. “Now, please.”
A man with disheveled hair walked over to the counter.
“How may I help you?” He asked.
“I need a priority appointment,” Jackie said.
“We don't do priority,” he replied. “You'll have to wait like everyone else.”
Jackie took out another wad of hundreds and slammed it on the counter. The man looked at the money and then back up at Jackie.
“Of course, there are exceptions,” he replied and took the cash.
Jackie was taken in by the attendant. She had her dyed black and grimaced as the attendant gave her a manicure and pedicure. After the makeover was complete, she looked at herself in the mirror. Before her, she saw the spitting image of her mother mixed with her father's build. Jackie hoped this would work.
The next morning, Honey had commented on Jackie's hair. Jackie smiled at Honey's compliment. 'Just don't get used to this look, Honey.' Entering the same way, they were seated and the procession began once more. Jackie looked up at Judge O'Leary noticing his dreamy stare in her direction. 'Creep.'
After all of them had been questioned, Jackie made sure to flash a smile at the judge. He nodded acknowledgment as Jackie was escorted back to the defendant box.
“My client has something she wishes to say,” Mr. Durnham said. “Against my own legal advice, but she is adamant about it.”
“Very well,” the judge replied.
“Your Honor,” Jackie began. “I hope you get the needed votes for your election and that this case won't be a deciding factor. This case is an interesting one, as I don't see a jury of my peers. I also sincerely hope this isn't your way for getting back at my father, William Miller for marrying Jocelyn Porter.”
The judge scoffed. The unprofessional manner caused an uproar in the courtroom audience. Jackie smiled. Elena smiled from her own seat. Honey was rigid and didn't expect this.
“I find the defendant, Jacquelyn Miller, not guilty,” the judge ruled.
Jackie felt a wave of relief. Thank goodness! She looked at Mark Jr. whose anger shined on his face like a beacon. Jackie quickly looked away. All of them were dismissed.
As Jackie was walking down the stairs, the judge caught up to her.
“I've expunged the charges against you,” he said.
“Good,” Jackie replied.
“You cost me my position as judge and the possible election,” O'Leary explained.
Jackie looked at him. He was a doomed man. Served him right though. After all, there was no reason to rig a case against her. Unfortunately, Mark Jr. was a couple of feet behind him, brandishing a hand gun.
“You bastard!” he cried to the former judge. “You promised me my revenge.”
“Just wait,” O'Leary responded. “Everything will be okay.”
“No, you prick!” Mark shouted. “You ruined everything. Everything!”
Mark pulled the trigger, shooting the judge point blank. Where were the cops? The judge fell, blood spilling everywhere. Jackie looked at Mark, hoping she'd get out of this alive.
Mark put the gun to his own head. Some cops were now just starting to come onto the scene. Jackie tried to reason with Mark to no avail.
“Nothing to live for murderer,” Mark spat in her direction. “One bullet left. Could use it on you-”
Before he finished his sentence, he shot himself in the head. Jackie watched the life drain from his eyes as he slumped and then fell down the steps, more blood spilling. Standing there in shock, Jackie didn't see the remote in Mark's hand until too late. 'No!'
Frantically, Jackie pushed through the crowd, trying to get everyone away from the courthouse. Honey listened immediately and was safely away. Others took a bit longer, until the explosion happened. It was set off somewhere inside the courthouse and Jackie jumped forward, fire behind her. Landing at the bottom of the steps, her leg was badly burned, her arm broken.
Jackie couldn't move, ears ringing. 'What happened?' She felt herself being lifted and placed in a stretcher. The world around her seemed surreal. Fading in and out of consciousness, she felt the iv going into her arm. Mark's last words playing again and again in her mind, not to mention that lifeless stare.
“Jackie,” Honey said.
She looked up at Honey. Blue eyes watering, she didn't know what to do. Jackie continued to stare at Honey as flashbacks played through her mind. Honey ran her fingers through Jackie's dark hair, also rubbing away dirt.
Jackie had no power over the now late Mark. To her, a constant torment. A reminder that she too, could become a monster like that. Tears fell from her eyes.
Honey was making her angry just being there. She didn't want her lover to see her this weak. No, it wouldn't do. She needed to be by herself.
“Go,” she said softly. “Leave me. Don't come back!”
“You don't mean that,” Honey responded. “You need me.”
“I don't need anyone,” Jackie replied with ice in her voice. “I don't even need you!”
Honey looked at Jackie in shock. How could she? Storming out of the hospital, Honey was emotionally lost.
She found the bus stop and waited there. Her option was to go back home with Jean Hunter. She offered Jackie support only to be stabbed in the heart by the woman she loved. Honey shook her head. She needed support herself. A shooting, a suicide, and a bombing all in the same day.
She paid the bus fare and walked to the back. Tears falling down her cheeks the whole time. No one ever needed another person, but Honey wanted to be with Jackie. Why did it hurt so much?
Walking into the apartment she shared with Jean, she found nothing changed. It was spotless so Jean had done some heavy duty cleaning but that was it. Entering her old bedroom, she saw it was as she had left it. Thankful for such a small mercy, she lied on the bed, stomach first. Leaning her head into her arms on the pillow, she cried herself to sleep.